Yediot: FM charges diplomats smuggling cash into Gaza; promises intensive searches of cars at Erez
Itamar Eichner, Yediot, January 20 2010
Israeli officials suspect that representatives of international organizations used their cars to bring millions of dollars into the Gaza Strip, taking advantage of their immunity. As a result, a decision has been made to intensify law enforcement regarding money laundering at the Erez border crossing in order to prevent the massive transfer of large amounts of cash to Gaza.
Recently, the Customs Authority instituted an obligation to report any sum of money greater than NIS 90,000 that is brought into the Gaza Strip in order to prevent a situation in which some of the money aids terrorism. Because most of the people who enter Gaza by car through the Erez border crossing are diplomats and employees of international organizations, a multi-party discussion was held at the Foreign Ministry several days ago about how to minimize the chances of confrontations and diplomatic incidents.
This week, the strategic department of the Foreign Ministry will convene all the foreign diplomats in order to receive a briefing from the ministry’s legal adviser about the new regulations. The legal adviser will explain the law, which views an amount of money divided among several vehicles as a single quantity, and will tell them that from now on, they have an obligation to report any amount greater than NIS 90,000.